Thursday, December 17, 2009

Security Theater

HonestMonkey have always thought that the "security" at the airports is more theater than actual security. That is, it scares off "bad guys" not by being effective, but by seeming to be effective. Here is a link that backs up that idea, from a former police officer. One of her points is that no data is collected at the airports to determine if what is being done is actually effective, correct, or non-discriminatory. For instance, do some screeners pick out women more often, or blacks, or whites? Are the random secondary searches actually random? Who knows? We don't.

Do I have the right to refuse this search?

By the way, it might be a hassle and inconvenience, and that's what they are counting on, but yes, you do have the right to refuse.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fifth Amendment

Saw this video a while back and while HM doesn't think he'll probably need to put it into practice, it makes sense. It's a bit long (~50 minutes), but the most important part is the first half. Upshot is never talk to the police under any circumstances. Use your fifth amendment right.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Buy Nothing Day Part II

Here's another reason not to shop on Black Friday (coming up this week):

Dirty Black Friday secrets

I guess I never thought about it that way before but, yeah, why have an ad that is going out to millions and claim "minimum 3 per store" or some such? That's just sleazy. And it leads to people getting killed. Which is also a reason not to shop at Wal-mart.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Buy Nothing Day coming up

This year it's November 27/28, according to Adbusters. HM will abstain from buying on those days. In fact, HM plans to try to make this a Donation-only Christmas. Pick a few charities and give to them in honor of others. Nobody needs another knick-knack anyway.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

San Fran '58

This is just a bit older than Honestmonkey. He's always enjoyed his trips to SF. Interesting in how it's not changed a great deal from 1958, at least the bits that are shown here.

San Francisco 1958 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deepest Trash bin

Thought this was amusing, and it seemed to work well. Perhaps they could vary the sounds - clanking, explosions, monster burps, etc.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ze Frank

Honestmonkey had been a big fan of Ze Frank back when he was doing his show a few years ago. Ze quit after a year and went on to other things. HM just found out that Ze has videos at called "That Makes Me Think Of..." (here's the latest one of them, which eventually links to others). Cool. Here's the link to Ze's page, which has links to the videos as well. Ze also had a very good talk at TED, which is out there somewhere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not necessarily advised, though

You can flip-off a cop, legally. The law, specifically the Constitution, is on your side. At least according to this article in Time. As indicated, this is not always your best course of action, because the police might issue you a "disorderly conduct" ticket or arrest you, regardless of whether you have the right to or not. Obviously, it's up to you to decide whether the possible court proceedings, etc, will be worth it. Probably better to keep your cool.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I doubt it's a wooden spoon

Honestmonkey stole this from here, but thought it gives a very good explanations of his beliefs, so he wanted to include it.

HM especially likes the part that indicates that even if you see something that appears "miraculous" you can't attribute that to some divine being. All you can say is "we just don't know."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"Ninety-five percent of the glaciers in the world are retreating or shinking." James Balog

Here is the link to a very interesting talk about this. Scary too.

TED Talks, James Balog: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

Public Option Explained

Short and concise explanation of the "Public Option", by Robert Reich. How scary!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So much for the TSA

Interesting story about a woman who tried to shoot down a plane for being too noisy. Sure, she wasn't allowed to bring a bottle of water onto the runway, only a loaded gun.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is not news

It may be kind of obvious, but the so-called “news” shows on TV now are not news. That is, they do not present anything that could be considered “news”. They present propaganda.

Now, everyone has a viewpoint. So anything that anyone says is almost always slanted in some way. Many wear their views on their sleeves. Beck, O’Reilly, Olbermann, Limbaugh, Lehrer, etc. These people obviously have an agenda, and in general it is obvious. Less obvious are the agendas of the major network’s news shows. But rest assured, it’s there, shown in the stories they show, the ones they don’t, and the way the present the ones they do show.

There’s only so much time on a news show, generally a half-an-hour to an hour. So much happens, they have to decide what stories and events they will cover, and how much time to devote to each. And, since they want people to watch their program, they have to pander to the audience. Will the audience care more about story A or B?

Sometimes there are bigger things at stake. Even if the ratings are up, a story might be hurting someone higher up the chain. The corporation controls much of what “news” anchors say. If the people signing your paycheck don’t like something, you will not go too far off script.

Here is a good example of that. If you watch Olbermann and/or O’Reilly, you may have noticed that since the beginning of June, they are no longer taking pot-shots at each other. This is due to an agreement between the CEOs of General Electric and New Corporation. The “feud” between Olbermann and O’Reilly, while good for their individual shows, was hurting the owning corporations. You can read about this on Salon’s Gleen Greenwald’s column here.

The message here is clear: You can not trust the news. Any of it. It is all propaganda and spin. You can’t even watch two different shows and try to split the difference anymore. You have to now realize that anything you see on TV is just a show, despite whatever the claim is in the intro. It is meant to entertain you, not inform you. There is no truth anymore. There is no news. Even this is not news.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nice Guys and Jerks at the Con

Most of the people I came across while in San Diego at ComicCon were nice, friendly folk. If they were running around in costume, they were almost always happy to pose, often willing to make sure HM got a good shot. If they were “talent”, they were happy to see their fans, happy to sign books or pictures or whatnot if you had something to sign, happy to talk with you for a bit.

For example, Eddie McClintock (from Warehouse 13) was very happy to interact with fans. He and some other cast members came to watch the Eureka/Warehouse 13 preview, and he took a number of photos with people. He was always smiling and seemed genuinely thrilled to be there. This was the general sentiment for most of the “talent” that Honest Monkey saw.

HM happened to run across Gene Simmons in Café Diem at the Hard Rock Hotel. Asking very politely if HM could take a picture, Mr. Simmons said “Sure” and posed. Snapped off a quick picture and thanked him. HM imagines that Mr. Simmons is fairly used to this, having been in the business for 35+ years.

However, there are always exceptions, of course. Here are a few that happened to Honest Monkey.

Saw Jim Steranko (Wikipedia) at a booth selling his books. Was going to take a picture, but Mr. Steranko and someone there with him noticed and both held out their hands, blocking their faces. Now, this is of course their right. He doesn’t have to let people photograph him, and he can attempt to stop people doing so. But then, why was he there? Did he think HM would buy a picture if he couldn’t take one? “I’m going out in public to see my fans but DON’T LOOK AT ME! I CHARGE FOR THAT!” Whatever. HM was a little upset, but the picture he would have taken would have looked a lot like the one from the Wikipedia article. Steranko was wearing the same clothes, even. So no loss.

Tyrese Gibson (who himself seemed like a nice guy what HM saw of him) was at the Con, at some booth, with a long line to see him to get an autograph. HM has no idea who Tyrese Gibson is or what he does, but he seemed happy, and was signing things from fans, apparently famous, so HM’s camera goes up and tries to take a picture. A “guard” with Mr. Gibson waves a hand in from of HM saying “No Pictures!” What? Okay, fine, HM doesn’t have a clue who the guy is anyway, and the picture is a bit blurry, so HM deletes it in a bit of a huff and wanders off. Note however, that Mr. Gibson wasn’t as much of a jerk as his “guard”. The same time the “guard” was being gruff, Gibson said that no, really, it was fine if people wanted to take pictures of him, but by this time HM no longer cared and left the scene. HM wishes Tyrese all the luck, but needs to pick better assistants.

The only other people that were sometimes rude (that HM came across) were the “Elite”. These are people that try to keep things running smoothly, and they have a tough job, since there are thousands of people milling around. Sometimes, something happens at a booth in the Exhibition Hall, and a crowd forms. The Elite come along and yell at people to keep moving. At one point, HM was watching a video on a screen above a booth, and was told he couldn’t stand there. Why the hell did they allow video screens at booths if you weren’t allowed to stick around and watch them? A big crowd developed when the cast from “Chuck” showed up at the Warner Bros. booth. The Elite tried to get the crowd moving – “One picture then move along!” – but was ignored for the most part. The few hundred people there were not moving. HM supposes it would have been more fair to everyone involved if the crowd had kept moving (and perhaps less of a fire hazard), as he had a hard time getting any good pictures. But crowds and fan worship being what it is, he didn’t expect that to happen.

For the most part, the Elite were fine. They had a few odd rules which made little since, but nothing really overt. HM didn’t understand the one about making sure your badge showed on entering the Exhibition Hall, as he was already in the building, and presumably had shown his badge to get in. Are there badges that don’t include the Exhibition Hall?

The people that were working for ComicCon were generally very helpful and friendly and knew how to run things. HM never had a problem with them.

One supposes that given the large crowds, there are going to be a few “bad apples” or communications breakdowns. HM is not sure why someone would show up if they weren’t there to greet their fans instead of pissing them off.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on ComicCon 2009

Sunday morning - was going to check bag at the Con, but the bag-check guy was searching through all the bags. Not sure why, or what they were hoping to find. Not sure why they thought violating privacy like that was okay. Went over to the HardRock hotel and they were happy to check the bag without a search. Ate breakfast at Cafe Diem; good, if a tad expensive.

Saw "The Human Target" pilot last night. Not bad, but suffering from 'TV-itis'. Tried hard not to be "comic-booky", and succeded. Instead it had a number of the clichés that action shows have. The main problem with the concept is that the character is supposed to blend in, yet by virtue of him being the main character, we are watching him the whole time.

Not much going on at the con today that HM wants to see. It's kids day, mostly.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mythbusters panel

Mythbusters guys are very funny. Definitely worth sitting here for three frakking hours. Phil Plait is hosting!

The Cliche Diaries

Just sat through a preview of "The Vampire Diaries". They threw every single cliche into it that was possible. It was about as awful as HM imagined it would be. Hopefully the Mythbusters panel will make up for it.

ComcCon 2009 II

Twitter is not working for unknown reasons again. Trying this instead.

Just saw Ray Bradbury. He's a cool, crotchety, fun old man. Pretty with-it for 88. Plans on living to 100. Wants to be burried on Mars.

Had to dump a bunch of "freebies" a bit ago, really weighing HM down. Much better now.

Planning on staying in this room for the next 3 panels, to avoid having to wait in any more lines. We'll see how that goes. This will be the "Human Target" pilot.

Friday, July 24, 2009

ComicCon 2009

HM is in the "Eureka" panel. It's a fun panel. They called Collin Ferguson who was in Bulgeria, at 1am. We all sang Happy Birthday to him over the phone. They are going to have a 4th season, which the crowd was happy about.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

At the Con

In a panel - "Science Fiction that will change your life". Waiting for it to start. The lines to wait in the lines are miles long. Probably won't wait in too many. This panel not very crowded. There seem to be a trillion people here at the Con. Last time HM was here (2007) there was only a billion.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nokia 770 vs. Twitter

Am posting this from my Nokia 770. It is kind of a pain, because the 770 is slow, has an on-screen keyboard, and just fails sometimes for no apparent reason. HM was hoping to 'tweet' from it, since he's going to ComicCon this week. If this works, HM'll just use this instead, as Twitter doesn't work.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Just say no to Wal-Mart

Another reason to just NOT SHOP AT WAL-MART:

Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Prices

Turns out the as tax payers, we pay more because Wal-Mart pays their employees less.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Honestmonkey added a book review to the What happens in 2050? page. Check it out. Now only 41 years away. HM might even make it. Spooky.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Real Piracy

Honestmonkey wants to congratulate the Navy for their handling of the hostage crisis with the Captain Phillips of the Maersk ship. This was, in HM’s opinion, the only way for it to be handled. You cannot, under any circumstances, negotiate with terrorists or real pirates or hijackers. HM has always thought that nothing anyone says during “negotiations” is valid. That is, you can promise them anything, and then arrest them without following through on any of what you said. It is basically the same as duress, and no contracts made under duress are valid. Hijackers and terrorists need to know that the only thing they are going to get is pain and death.

HM has always thought that in the unlikely event that he is kidnapped, he should be considered dead. No negotiation should be done for his “safe return”. Kill the kidnappers, and if HM should happen to be rescued, well, that’s a bonus.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Free Comic Book Day - May 2

May 2, this year, is Free Comic Book Day! Honestmonkey is so stoked! He's not sure exactly why, but he loves FCBD. And so should you. Hey! Free comic books! What's not to like?

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Quis custodiet ipsos custodies

Honestmonkey did.

Honestmonkey cannot see this movie with any eyes but those that have already read the novel. Through that filter, the movie is just fantastic. They changed enough that had you not read the novel, reading it now would still give surprises, and a bit different ending. Snyder did a fantastic job, the actors were great, this movie is epic. There were numerous references to the book, homages to specific pages or scenes.

That said, as others have said, it is a bit confusing if you didn't already have some idea as to what was going on. Major plot points occasionally pass by a bit too quickly. One thing which is kind of the entire impetus for the story is explained only in voice-over. And the movie tries to explain something that in the novel was not really explainable other than being a human foible.

Note that there are a lot of flashbacks, that is how the story is told. That might help in understanding what is going on a bit. HM saw it with a crowd of mostly comic book nerds, which was fun in itself.

The movie is violent and intense. But it’s a good story told well. Can’t wait for the DVD.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Maybe someone will stumble upon this and help Honestmonkey out. He is looking for a shirt. More specifically, a button-down shirt that is "interesting". Ideally it would have some cool picture on the back (or front even) that isn't of a skull, or cross, or skateboard, or a motorcycle, or woman in a bikini throwing dice. It might be nice if the design crossed-over to the sleeves, perhaps. It would be nice if it was not the name of a store or designer.

It can't be a "young-mans" shirt, however. Honestmonkey is no longer a young man, and those shirts tend to bind in the upper arms or across the stomach. Usually HM prefers normal "dress" shirts, cotton. HM just wants a cool looking NON-T-SHIRT. You can get just about anything on a t-shirt. HM doesn't wear them for the most part. They are uncomfortable. The few he has are Supima cotton with a v-neck.

The idea HM has is this: think of someone walking down the street. Someone else has a picture (probably not too detailed) that is just a bit bigger than the back of a shirt and the sleeves. He runs up, slaps the picture on the back of the other person's shirt. It doesn't all stick, as it is too big, but enough sticks that it is recognizable. Some might bleed around to the front. Think Roy Lichtenstein maybe, or Peter Max, or Frank Miller even. Or perhaps something abstract. Take a picture, cut a piece out in the shape of a shirt.

This is apparently a tall order. Most of these types of shirts that have anything like this on them are motorcycle or bowling shirts. The bowling shirt wouldn't be too bad but they are invariably short sleeved and/or rayon or polyester. Short sleeved wouldn't be too bad, but HM has a number of Hawaiian shirts.

Cotton. Button-down. Older man's fit (not fat, just not a young skinny hipster type). HM has some Roundtree & Yorke shirts he likes, and a few Eddie Bauer, Cactus, Hagger Forever New, smattering of other kinds. That kind of thing. Just regular shirts, casual but not denim or work shirts. HM is not that artistic, so making his own design is problematic.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

DLink Router Problems

Honestmonkey has a DLink router, model DIR-655. Or rather, HM has a plastic brick. After applying a recent firmware update, the router stopped accepting any new data. It saves nothing. Rebooting, resetting, holding one's breath, counting backwards from 80 - none of these did anything to change the fact that the router no longer accepts data of any kind.

HM emailed tech support. They decided they couldn't help, and told HM to call. HM called. The tech support person was less than helpful, and seemed to be assuming that all customers were morons. After finally explaining the situation, which the tech guy (apparently in India) never quite got, he said to download the latest firmware update. "Did that." "No, no, it's being updated right now, wait an hour before you get it. Goodbye."

So, surprisingly enough, while Honestmonkey was on the phone with the tech guy, they were releasing a new version of the firmware. What amazing coincidence! Not that this helped at all, because the router doesn't accept new information! Not a password, not a setting change, not a new firmware update, not an old firmware update.

The router is a brick. Dead. Pining for the fjords.

Apparently Mr. Tech Support guy decided not even to save the case number he assigned to me because DLink does not have a record of it. Didn't want to record a failure, I imaging.

So now Honestmonkey has a plastic brick with the words "DLink Router" on it. It doesn't route anything however. And even though it's still under warranty they no longer wish to talk to HM.

My advice is to be wary of DLink products.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Honestmonkey does not understand Twitter. He has a Twitter feed, it's right there on the sidebar. He even updates it on rare occasions. However, he doesn't get it. What, exactly, is the point?

Perhaps because he is a boring old fart, and doesn't have much to "tweet" about, it seems pointless. And he doesn't want to waste money on text messages, or to bother figuring out how to Twitter from his phone.

But why would anyone think that other people needed to know exactly what they were doing or thinking every second of the day?

Actually, HM generally forgets about the Twitter thing until days later. "Honestmonkey should have tweeted that he found a particularly succulent bunch of bananas last Thursday. Drat."

Oh well. Perhaps he will find a use for it someday. Maybe he'll even get a Facebook account. Nah.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lying Liars Who Lie

Speaking of Barbara Streisand - Some Swedish scientists have had the gall to do research indicating that lie detectors don't do diddly. And the Israeli company that makes them is threatening to sue. Apparently they feel threatened themselves.

Lie detectors, at best, can only tell if someone is anxious about something, perhaps, say, taking a lie detector test. In some places they are used to simply get the truth out of someone because that person thinks the lie detector might catch them.

Scientists threatened with legal action over lie detector article

Monday, January 26, 2009


This is unintentionally damn funny. It is a song that was run through a Microsoft program called SongSmith. Apparently SongSmith ruins everything, on purpose. Usually they come out funny, though.

Roxanne thru MS Songsmith

There are a bunch of songs ruined by this program, search for them on Youtube. They are so awful they are funny. It's hard to see why anyone would actually use this program.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Honestmonkey has "Last song you heard" disease. Whatever the last song one hears gets stuck in your brain. Usually it is some lame song, too. The only cure is to replace it with another song that is hopefully better. HM has it so bad that even just a suggestion of a song can trigger it. For instance, the metal lid to the cookie jar, set down on the counter made an "mm-dink" kind of sound. Reminded HM of "Mmm-bop", of all things. That's right, by the Hansons. Stuck in HM's brain.

This calls for high-powered rock, and lots of it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Photographers getting hassled on public property by the cops. This kind of stuff upsets Honest Monkey to no end. So let's reiterate. Before September, 2001, you could stand on public property, say a sidewalk, and take pictures of anything within view. After September, 2001, you can still stand on public property and take pictures of anything within view. Here is some text stolen from another site:

You are allowed to photograph anything with the following exceptions:
  • Certain military installations or operations.
  • People who have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
That's it. If you are on a sidewalk or other public property, snap away. The police should know this, and yet they overstep their bounds all the time. Link below to Thomas Hawk and his problems with the police.

Thomas Hawk's harbor patrol problems

Photographer's rights

Friday, November 28, 2008 was Buy Nothing Day

Once again. No gift wrapping necessary. Consume less. Don't worry about joining the crowds or finding a parking place.

Buy Nothing Day at

Buy Nothing Christmas at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

There are several organizations that can help you stop getting phone books. One has a petition to sign, the other sends your name to the publishers. You probably don't even use phone books anymore, do you?

Paperless Pettition

Yellowpages Goes Green

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My thoughts exactly
Reality Check

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - Tax Day no less

Our worst critics prefer to stay.
A good motto, HM thinks.

Freakonomics blog

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First Post for this one, anyway

While technically not a blog before, the 'blog' format allows Honestmonkey easier formatting and other capabilities. So HM is going to try it out, to see how well it works. Probably move some of his content from the current site to the blog. We'll see how this goes.